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Dementia Support – Why it is Important 

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, followed by vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia.  Dementia is the name of a group of progressive diseases that affect cognition and other crucial functions of the brain.  The primary risk factor associated with various types of dementia is AGE.  There is a 1 in 15 chance of developing dementia at the age of 65, increasing to 1 in 3 for those over 85.

Due to the increasing age of the world’s population, we now see a new case of dementia every 3 seconds throughout the world. That is 4x more than new cases of HIV. Sadly, there is currently no cure for dementia.

When a person is diagnosed with dementia, it affects the whole family.  Most families don’t know where to begin when it comes to finding help and resources.  Taking a team approach to dementia care is the best way to support families as they support their loved ones.

A general daily routine for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia will help caregivers aid their patients more effectively. Routines don’t need to be set in stone or drab. Instead, they give a sense of consistency, which is beneficial for a loved one, even if they can’t communicate it. Diversity is welcome.

You and your loved one should create your own unique routine. Some ideas:

Keep a sense of structure and familiarity by maintaining consistent times for activities such as waking up, mealtimes, bathing, dressing, receiving visitors, and bedtime.

Let your loved ones know what to expect even if you are not sure that they are on board. You can use cues to establish the different times of the day. In the morning, you can open the curtains to let sunlight in. In the evening, you can put on quiet music to indicate it’s bedtime.

Doing everything on your own might be easier but try to involve your loved one in daily activities as much as they are able. They may not be able to tie their shoes but putting their clothes in the hamper is doable. Clipping plants outside may not be safe, but they may be able to weed plant, or water. Use your best judgment as to what is safe and what they can handle.

If you would like help establishing a routine or supplementing the routine of your loved one, we’d be glad to sit down for a talk. Feel free to give us a call today to discuss the way you and your loved one can continue to maintain a high quality of life.

Schedule: Keep a sense of structure and familiarity by maintaining consistent times for activities such as waking up, mealtimes, bathing, dressing, receiving visitors, and bedtime.

Peace: When your loved one is aggravated, offer calm reassurance that they are in a safe place. Arguing is not recommended. Try to find out if there is something your loved one needs.

Eliminate: Limit evening intake of coffee, soda and other beverages containing caffeine.

Cue: Let your loved one know what to expect even if you are not sure that they are on board.

Establishing all the components of a routine takes time, patience, and help. If your loved one would like to stay home, allow others to provide the assistance you need to maintain a happy home. They can also make great assistants for any number of activities that work well for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Other ideas:

The number one need is to improve understanding and acceptance of dementia – treating people as human beings that should not be excluded from the community or from contact with their friends and families. Awareness can be raised in many ways, including by supporting World Alzheimer’s Month every September.

The second most important thing is the diagnosis, treatment, and care. Diagnosis can empower people with dementia and their families to face their situation, seek help, and plan for the future.

There are many psychological and social programs that have proven to be effective in supporting people with dementia and their families, like physical activity, cognitive stimulation, musical therapy, arts, and dementia projects, support programs for caregivers.

Families need to be able to continue with their hopes and dreams, even if some of those hopes and dreams have changed due to their loved one’s illness. There are agencies that share the same caregiving and quality-of-life goals for people with dementia that caregiving families have.  They offer dementia care education, respite care, and other kinds of support to these families.

Knowing where to find these resources can sometimes be a challenge, especially for families who have just received a diagnosis of dementia. This is where a caregiver coach can be of help.

Each family caring for a loved one with dementia has unique challenges. A caregiver coach meets one on one with family caregivers and helps them find the right resources for them.

For assistance or more information on Alzheimer and dementia care, call Bethany Montgomery today at 936-220-2133!

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